News, World Problems

Oil industry at its lowest in six years: over $500 billion in collective debt


In just a couple of weeks the price of oil, and commodity in general, have plunged. This Friday, oil was trading on the international market for $47 a barrel, while the American benchmark is currently sitting at $41.5. The low pricing – the lowest in six years – is driving a lot of companies bankrupt, while large companies like Exxon and Shell have been forced to cut down on their losses firing employees and shutting down exploration and exploitation projects.

News, Pollution, World Problems

The Grand Canyon is polluted with dangerous levels of toxic metals

Horseshoe Bend displays the scenery and solitude of the Colorado River in the upper reaches of the Grand Canyon. Fishing on the river is peaking as temperatures are ideal for spring midge hatches. Image: Denver Post

U.S. Geological Survey scientists report the Grand Canyon’s food webs are contaminated with dangerously high levels of mercury and selenium. The source of the runoff pollution can be tracked down hundreds of miles upstream, coming from coal-burning electrical plants and other human sources. This shows that “remote ecosystems are vulnerable to long-range transport and subsequent bioaccumulation of contaminants,” the researchers write.

Diseases, News, World Problems

Research moves closer to a universal flu vaccine

The team from The Scripps Research Institute and Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies designed a molecule that mimicked the shape of a key part of the influenza virus, inducing a powerful and broadly effective immune response in animal models.
Image credits to The Scripps Research Institute

Scientists from the Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) and Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) have discovered a way to give antibodies the ability to fight a wide range of influenza subtypes. Their work has great potential to one day eliminate the need for repeated seasonal flu shots.

Climate, News, World Problems

July 2015 was the hottest month ever recorded

July 2015 Blended Land & Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies in °C. Image via NOAA.

Did you notice something strange about this July? It was hot! Sure, July is supposed to be hot (at least for most of the world), but even by July standards it was hot. If you too have felt like this, you weren’t imagining things: the NOAA recently announced that this July was the hottest month ever recorded, and January-July 2015 was

News, World Problems

Humans are the world’s super predator – by far


Though humans might not be as fierce as a lion or white shark, we’re definitely the greatest predatory species in the world, ever. The extent of humanity’s super-predation was assessed by a team at University of Victoria in British Columbia which compared our hunting abilities to those of both land and marine predators in all the oceans and continents, besides Antarctica. The findings reveal humans lack any real competition preying on adults of other species at rates up to 14 times higher than other predators, especially marine ones.

News, Pollution, World Problems

China didn’t emit as much CO2 as we think it did, Harvard study concludes

Image via IB Times.

China – the world’s most populous country and the world’s top polluter has a lot of responsibility on its shoulders. China gets a lot of well deserved flak for its often unsustainable ways, but according to a new study, at least some of the flak is undeserved. China’s emissions have been overestimated, according to a study published in Nature.

News, Science, World Problems

Not even World War III will stop Unsustainable Human Population Growth. The ‘Fix’ lies with Lowering Impact


Seriously – after making a complex cross-scenario examination, scientists found that given humanity’s current population growth momentum, not even WW3, a global pandemic or stringent fertility restraints  will be enough to keep the global population at sustainable levels. In light of these findings, Australian researchers at Univ. of Adelaide’s Environment Institute  conclude that lowering our environmental impact through mass scale recycling and shifting

Feature Post, World Problems

The devastating Tianjin blast as seen from above

The huge crater left in the wake of the explosion in Tianjin, China.(EPA)

Just before midnight, last Wednesday, a devastating explosion occurred in the Chinese port city of Tianjin. The blast took place in some chemical containers with a force equivalent to two dozen tons of TNT, killing 85 and relocating citizens over a 3-mile radius. These aerial photos shared by Quartz, document the dramatic event which paralyzed a whole city for days and was witnessed from space. Explosions continued to happen days after the initial event, whose cause has yet to be identified.

Environmental Issues, News, World Problems

Ecuador declares state of national emergency as Cotopaxi volcano wakes

Grazing bad.
Image via wikimedia

A state of emergency has been declared this Saturday by Ecuador’s president, Rafael Correa. The measure was taken as a precaution given the recent increase in volcanic activity of the Cotopaxi stratovolcano, allowing the government greater freedom to allocate financial resources and critical personnel in the event of an eruption.

Climate, News, Science, World Problems

Ever-growing population and climate instability will lead to severe food shortages by 2050


The food industry has become much more efficient in the last few decades as a result of globalization, but also a lot more vulnerable to shocks. Climate change will lead not only to increased temperatures, but the extreme weather it causes in North, South America and Asia are likely to also lead to global food shortages.